Researchers from the University of Basque Country have finished a 10-year study examining the effects of information and communications technologies (ICT) in the classroom. Study co-author Asun Martinez says "the studies carried out at compulsory education level were not able to show the transformation and improvement of learning in schools that had been promised as a result of incorporating technology into the classroom."
Martinez says the problem is that ICTs are being used to supplement traditional teaching rather than helping it evolve. Instead of encouraging innovation, they have become another tool for the laborious task of memorization. "We started this work stressing that ICTs have the potential to spread knowledge beyond the physical limits of time, space, and the people to whom one has access within the four walls of the classroom," write the researchers in their study. Since ICTs are not being used in the spirit of student creativity and autonomy, researchers are proposing using ICTs in the way they were designed--to challenge old assumptions and promote personal research and growth.
In order to change how ICTs are used in school, the researchers say that educators must reevaluate the current classroom structure. By offering students learning opportunities not just in the classroom, but outside it, schools would be "better adapted to the needs of society today," the study concludes.
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